Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Bluest Eye

Author(s): Chris Perkins / D.W. Dillon
Location: IL / NV

"The Bluest Eye"

Directed by Carl Franklin
Written by Kasi Lemmons
Based on the novel by Toni Morrison
Cinematography by Philippe Rousselot
Edited by Hughes Winborne
Music by Terence Blanchard
Produced by Oprah Winfrey and Kate Forte

Main Cast

Keke Palmer as Pecola Breedlove
Don Cheadle as Cholly Breedlove
Aunjanue Ellis as Pauline Breedlove
Ravin Goodwin as Claudia MacTeer
Camille Winbush as Frieda MacTeer
Laurence Fishburne as Soaphead Church
Ruby Dee as Great Aunt Jimmy

Tagline: "Color Meant Everything"

Synopsis: That Cholly Breedlove (Cheadle) was bread to hate, for he did not know what love was. As a child, his great Aunt Jimmy (Dee) offered up timely affection that would soon fade due to her dying crippled body. Offering up nothing more than a tease of compassion in contrast to his father's abuse, and the torment he endured by the hands of other white children in a world fueled by racism. Cholly Breedlove could not love but he would desperately try. He sure as heck ain't lovin' Pauline (Ellis). That wife of his with that silly club foot hates herself more than he does.

And poor Pecola Breedlove (Palmer). With parents like Cholly and Pauline, it's no wonder she ain't had her head on straight; worshipping them white babydolls, drinking milk from that Shirley Temple mug and wanting blue eyes of all things. I guess being black meant being ugly in that home. Prolly why Cholly burned it down. To go so far as to see that nasty gruddy ol' Soaphead Church (Fishburne), thinkin' he's some religious witch-doctor and grant her blue eyes! Go on! Pecola didn't know no better. He gave her blue eyes alright, but the price she paid was downright awful. Convincing Pecola to kill that annoying dog that bugged him so, and taking advantage of her in ways no one should.

Maybe it was her circumstance, or the environment she grew up in. Frieda (Winbush) was a good friend to her, after her home turned to ashes and needed a place to stay. She needed something and few tried to understand, but what Pecola went through no one could imagine. Her momma beat her some more when she found her crying on the kitchen, courtesy of Cholly. Maybe Cholly needed to feel love in some way, and that was his way, but Pecola didn't deserve that kinda love. No one does. Frieda thought it best to save the unborn child by growing flowers. Those flowers died as quickly as that poor unborn soul.

All she ever wanted were those damned blue eyes. And for what? She thought she had dem blue eyes but she was crazy. Losing that baby, and living that life, I probably would have felt the same way. Cholly was gone, but the damage was done and I, Claudia (Goodwin) by the side of my sister Frieda saw a girl, just a girl, mistreated as a dirty woman. Pecola was no woman. She was everything we feared. Color meant everything to her and that's where the world had placed her. Her neverending quest for the bluest eyes opened ours forever.

What the Press would say:

Toni Morrison's Nobel Prize award-winning book, "The Bluest Eye", is the latest to get the big screen treatment and what an amazing and powerful achievement it is. Here's a film people will be talking about for years to come. A film that is sure to not only captivate audiences but critics as well with its mesmerizing performances, unforgettable story, stunning technicals, and raw emotion.

Carl Franklin, the director of such critically acclaimed films as "Devil in a Blue Dress" and "One False Move", brings an authentic and intense reality to the story. Franklin's direction is quite simply exceptional and shows the real pain and sorrow these characters have to endure in their lives. The screenplay written by Kasi Lemmons ("Eve's Bayou") is just as incredible. The depth and realism Lemmons brings to the characters and story only enhances the film's strong and profounding message. The technicals for the movie are out of this world. The cinematography, editing, score, etc. are all done beautifully and with much detail.

The performances are what really stand out in this impressive film. Don Cheadle gives a tour de force performance as Cholly Breedlove, an abusive and alcoholic man whose had to live with a painful past. Cheadle's emotionally complex and heartbreaking portrayal of a man whose life is anything but complicated is beyond poignant. Keke Palmer is an astounding Revelation as Pecola Breedlove, a girl who believes she will only be beautiful if she has blue eyes. It's spellbinding to watch this young performer deliver this affective and great performance beside heavyweights like Don Cheadle. Palmer is pretty much the center of the film and steals every scene she is in. The supporting players are equally as fantastic. From Ruby Dee's unconditionally loving but dying Great Aunt Jimmy, to Laurence Fishburne's dirty and calculating Soaphead Church, and to Aunjanue Ellis' insecure and lonely wife of Cholly, Pauline. But the supporting performance that really shines and is most likely to catch people's attention is from Ravin Goodwin. She plays Claudia MacTeer, the young girl who narrates the story through her perspective. Goodwin's performance is what really holds this film together. She's telling the story of a family whose more than just dysfunctional but one who has serious problems.

"The Bluest Eye" is by far the best movie of this or any other year. A definite must see.

Awards Consideration
Best Picture
Best Director - Carl Franklin
Best Actor - Don Cheadle
Best Actress - Keke Palmer
Best Supporting Actor - Laurence Fishburne
Best Supporting Actress - Ruby Dee
Best Supporting Actress - Ravin Goodwin
Best Supporting Actress - Aunjanue Ellis
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Cinematography
Best Editing
Best Score

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